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View Full Version : Winner in Sturbridge Mass: B.T.'s Smokehouse


Gore
07-28-2012, 04:35 PM
On our annual trek from the north, we were confronted with hunger and the approaching restaurant wasteland of Connecticut along the I-84 corridor. The first exit south of I-90 is Sturbridge and I pulled off, hoping to find something enticing. It actually looked promising. There were a couple pizza places and a Thai place. I was just getting ready to pull a U, when I spotted B.T.'s Smokehouse. I made some half-hearted suggestion, knowing there was almost no chance of pulling in, when my wife said, "Sure, why not? Kids, we're having BBQ!" I quickly pulled into the lot before any minds could be changed as the kids groaned. They could practically taste the pad Thai and I had just ruined their evening with my obsession. They were also tired as we'd driven 14 hours and still had another 7 to go. The parking lot of B.T.'s was stuffed. There were easily more cars there than in all the other restaurants combined, something that surely convinced my wife. From the outside, it looked very promising. There were a few rusting offsets and some picnic tables.

http://i613.photobucket.com/albums/tt211/gvideen/Halifax%2012/IMG_5852.jpg

The inside was quite typical, with some lovely personal touches (not shown in the photos here). The inside, and especially the bathroom, were uniquely and delightfully decorated.

http://i613.photobucket.com/albums/tt211/gvideen/Halifax%2012/IMG_5861.jpg

The menu was extensive. I quickly spotted a Reuben sandwich (for my wife) and a wrap (for my youngest). The older daughter claimed lack of hunger and just wanted hush puppies. I figured she'd have bites of what I ordered. The sign on the front said Southern BBQ and I have a weakness for brisket. The problem is that the two do NOT go together. With two exceptions, I have NEVER had a decent brisket cooked in the south. It simply is not considered BBQ -- Texas is a whole 'nother region of course. I dared ask and was told the brisket was fabulous. OK, I'll bite -- hopefully, this would not be authentic southern brisket. I also asked about the Reuben -- no words, but just a look that told me that I'd be stupid if I didn't order the Reuben. Also ordered a pork wrap and hush puppies. So, what did I end up with?

This is a brisket platter for about $10, including two sides and corn bread. I have a weakness for carrot salad and also went with the potato salad.

http://i613.photobucket.com/albums/tt211/gvideen/Halifax%2012/IMG_5853.jpg

The brisket was absolutely lovely. It had a wonderfully flavorful bark and it was moist and tender, as I hope this picture shows. It is one of the best briskets I've gotten at any restaurant, and that really is saying something. The only weakness for me is that I would have preferred it trimmed just a wee bit more. That is not a big deal, of course, and certainly not a deal-breaker.

My daughter's wrap came stuffed with large chunks of pork and coleslaw. The pork was cooked to perfection. The bark was some of the best I've had and the meat was tender and juicy.

http://i613.photobucket.com/albums/tt211/gvideen/Halifax%2012/IMG_5857.jpg

If you were expecting "southern style" minced, you might have been disappointed, but this is the way I like pulled pork. The weakness with the wrap was the sauce, or perhaps overabundance. My daughter (who sucks on lemons) found the wrap to be too sour. Rather than a compliment to the pork, it dominated and overwhelmed, which is too bad as the pork really was the star. My other daughter's hush puppies were cooked beautifully:

http://i613.photobucket.com/albums/tt211/gvideen/Halifax%2012/IMG_5854.jpg

They have a hint of jalapenos, which were hardly noticeable. We didn't even get to the dipping sauce. The carrot and potato salads both were good. The carrot was fairly typical, and the potato a bit more unique. I enjoyed both, but nothing too special. I wish I could tell you something about the corn bread, but I only got a tiny nibble. :mmph:

Finally, let us get to that Reuben. My wife loves Reubens. I'm not a big fan. This was labeled a "Brisket Reuben" and I expected something a bit different. It is different in every way.

http://i613.photobucket.com/albums/tt211/gvideen/Halifax%2012/IMG_5858.jpg

In place of the sauerkraut is coleslaw, and the bread is not traditional, more like a honey wheat, and very nice. The brisket was sumptuous and the cheese and sauce were to-die for. This is one of the nicest sandwiches I can remember tasting. My wife loves Reubens and was not in the least disappointed, well, actually after eating half and going through all the rest of the napkins in the dispenser, she declared that this was "not date food" (Funny, I always thought that was a good thing). We split her other half and spent a great deal of the next 7 hours reminiscing about the Reuben.

The ribs also looked delicious and they also serve burnt ends(!) and my wife reminds me they sell jerky and smoked salmon, but they will have to wait for next time, and you better believe there will be a next time -- it is only a 7-hour drive. :thumb:

This is one final shot of Will who made our food last night:

http://i613.photobucket.com/albums/tt211/gvideen/Halifax%2012/IMG_5859.jpg

For those in the area of the I-90 Mass. Pike and I-84, this is one of the best BBQ restaurants I've been to and definitely worth turning off the freeway for. I put it in my "special" category -- not quite authentic, something a bit different, and definitely well worth the trip. And my compliments to the wonderful staff, they were downright southern in their hospitality.

Fatback Joe
07-30-2012, 10:07 AM
Hmmm........I live about 40 mins from there and have never given it a shot. I have asked a couple of the people around here about it and they all said "don't bother".......maybe it is just the Northerners not knowing a good thing when they have it.

Thanks for the post........I just might have to head over there and check it out.

Gore
07-31-2012, 08:14 AM
I don't think I'd make a special trip, but if you're passing through the area, and need a bite to eat, I'd definitely stop. I'm always looking for pitstops when I travel and would much rather pull into a local place like this than a chain restaurant. With my travels, I can't guess how many places (BBQ and otherwise) I frequent, and this one definitely stood out. Of course that doesn't mean it is as good as what I get at home. :becky:

Incidentally, I checked the website and their pitmaster is CIA trained. Another place that really stood out for me was the BBQ Exchange in Gordonville VA. I liked BBQ Exchange for their uniqueness too (as well as their overall good food). Their pitmaster also is CIA trained. I guess the CIA is doing something right.

sbramm
07-31-2012, 06:54 PM
hmmmmm. i am intrigued.

would be a bit of a drive but what the hell. it's BBQ!

thanks for the review.

landarc
07-31-2012, 07:08 PM
I am intrigued because Gore made it sound good, and usually, he just tries to make it funny because the food was not good.

Gore
08-01-2012, 10:29 PM
I am intrigued because Gore made it sound good, and usually, he just tries to make it funny because the food was not good.

You're right :doh: I would really like to go back and try it again. I wonder if I was blinded by the Reuben -- because it was so good, it made everything else seem so much better. I honestly don't know. I do know that was one fine sammie. I have to be in New Haven in a couple weeks. It's only an hour from there ... :rolleyes:

Etut
08-16-2012, 08:54 PM
You're right :doh: I would really like to go back and try it again. I wonder if I was blinded by the Reuben -- because it was so good, it made everything else seem so much better. I honestly don't know. I do know that was one fine sammie. I have to be in New Haven in a couple weeks. It's only an hour from there ... :rolleyes:


If you make it back, try the anduiolle bites they are pretty fabulous, just enough spicy from the sausage, and sweet from the cornbread batter. I go between CT and MA all the time on 84, and try to stop in every now and then, and they make the perfect snack for driving.

Gore
08-17-2012, 01:01 PM
If you make it back, try the anduiolle bites they are pretty fabulous, just enough spicy from the sausage, and sweet from the cornbread batter. I go between CT and MA all the time on 84, and try to stop in every now and then, and they make the perfect snack for driving.

Wow, didn't see those! But there were a lot of interesting things on the menu. I have to be in New Haven next Wednesday. I don't suppose I could talk my hosts into driving 3 hours to get dinner. :roll:

Etut
08-17-2012, 01:24 PM
There's a little place in meriden CT, which is about 25 minutes from new haven, I haven't tried anything except for his pork, but its pretty good too.

The shack is called Southern Que, I think he's only open thurs-sunday though.

JimmyDAL
09-04-2012, 08:54 AM
I happen to have his brisket and pulled pork at the. Somers Chili Comps and I look forward to it every year.